‘Backpack Bash’ returns to Kiski Area High School

A free back-to-school giveaway event for all students enrolled in the Kiski Area School District is scheduled for Aug. 10.

The Back to School Backpack Bash returns this year after a successful inaugural 2021 launch.

The district sought donations of backpacks, school supplies and hygiene items from the community over the summer. Donations will be accepted through Monday.

About 200 backpacks have been collected so far.

Co-organizers English teacher Emily DePanicis-Saxion and school resource officer Charity Hollis came up with the idea a few years ago after both purchased school supplies themselves and gave them to students in need.

“People don’t realize how hard it is for kids to come to school with no supplies on the first day. They are a whole step behind the other students. I really just want to make sure all of the kids are at least starting out with adequate supplies,” DePanicis-Saxion said.

After the event, supplies will be distributed as needed until they run out, DePanicis-Saxion said.

“We do plan to share any extra supplies with neighboring districts, but the event is limited to Kiski Area School District families,” DePanicis-Saxion said.

Joyce Hanz | Tribune-Review

Kiski Area High School Key Club student Mateya Maldonado places a donated backpack into a collection bin on campus.

In 2019, more than 200 backpacks were given away.

Kiski enrolls about 3,400 students.

Kiski Area High School Key Club members were instrumental in organizing the event.

The bash runs from 2 to 6 pm, in the high school atrium.

Attendees can expect to be entertained by live music from singer Lucas Vrudny, a former Kiski Area student who won the district’s talent show last year.

Free haircuts will be available.

Face painting and meet-and-greets with princesses and superheroes circulating around the event will be offered.

Incoming freshman Lila Clouser, 14, is volunteering to dress as a princess and looks forward to interacting with the youngsters.

“I’m really proud to be a part of an event that’s going to help so many students get what they need before school starts. It’s also a fun way to give back while hanging out with my friends, and it’s a great way to get excited for the school year, too,” Clouser said.

Students and their families will be allowed to “shop” from the donated items and select what they need.

Free food offerings will include hot dogs and nachos.

Students will be invited to shop the Kiski Cavalier Closet, a free student store filled with donated shoes, clothing, accessories and more.

If a student is unable to attend the bash, they are asked to contact a teacher in the district for assistance and a backpack can be made available on the first day of school.

No registration is required.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joyce by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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